Vertebrates 16 - Intelligence Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Vertebrates 16 - Intelligence Deck (26)
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Phineas Gage

Rod shot through front of brain. Lived, but behaviour changed (more obnoxious than before). People believe that it may have changed do to disruption of frontal lobe


How have we learned about the brain?

Often through brain damage/surgery. Behaviour often changes as a result.


How else can we study the brain?

Functional imaging: PET (small radioactive particles) and fMRI (magnetic field change).


Language tasks

Viewed with PET scan (radioactive glucose). Mostly in Left frontal lobe (Broca’s area).


Memory areas

hippocampus, prefrontal cortex. Viewed with fMRI, watch which areas are receiving most O2 (fMRI traces Hemoglobin - iron!)


Animal intelligence?

Video of dog that can count. Also the “Clever Hans (horse) effect” who could do math, but only in presence of trainer - subtle cues.



ALL animals can learn to some degree (not an overly intelligent thing)


Insight vs trial and error

Trial and error, ex Skinner Box. Do things more that seem to work. Insight is solving problems without doing it multiple times, ie thinking ahead.


Video: Kohle experiment

Chimps with banana high on string, use boxes and sticks to get them.


Video: Debate around insight

Some think they have learned “insight” by trial and error. Controlled for by making it a novel problem (raven raised from chicks still able to pull up the right string). Insightful learning does rely on some trial and error, even in humans.



Eg. herbivore (gorilla) vs omnivore (chimps). Chimps tend to rank higher intelligence. Omnivore diet requires different strategies.


Human evolution and intelligence

Belief that humans were forced to be more versatile to gain food (hunting, traveling for food).



Bishof-Koehler: only humans can show foresight. Pig story - start squealing before running at electric fence. Possible?


Foresight and Jays

Two compartments for breakfast, one where not given breakfast. Birds would take food from one and store it at the other, and more of it. Seem to show foresight


Self awareness

Mirror test. Chimps with paint on a nonvisible part of face, use mirror to locate it. Dolphins and orcas too (trickier), elephants, corvids.


Language (social communication)

Connected learning, cultural transmission (not talking). Blue titmouse: learned to pick through aluminum foil to get into milk, behaviour seemed to spread to all titmouse (probably observing). Another bird learned it too but it didn’t spread



Animals (like dogs or dolphins) can be trained to understand words, but syntax? Sign language study mixed order, and the dolphins understand the syntax


Dolphin language

clicks, whistles, squeaks, 0.25 to 150 kHz. Low end = social, high end = echolaction


Dolphin echolocation

Produced by blowing air out of nares, nasal sacs make clicks, which travel through the water, echos off the swim bladder of fish. Echo back vibrates through the jaw back to the inner ear.


Reading: Human language

Possibly due to the evolution of a single gene involved in language. FOXP2.


Reading: What genetic evidence is there that FOXP2 is involved in language?

Looked at a pedigree with a speech impediment (couldn’t learn/speak). Autosomal dominant trait. Gene mapping, found on chromo. 7.


Reading: What other evidence is there that FOXP2 is involved in language?

Take fMRI during language tasks, look at Broca’s area. In affected individuals Broca’s area lights up a bit, but much activity scattered elsewhere.


Reading: What protein is made by FOXP2 gene?

Makes TF, controls gene expression. Mutation could alter this


Reading: What is the difference in the FOXP2 gene b/w humans and chimps? What’s the effect?

Only a.a. changes in the protein. Put the TFs into FOXP2 knockout neurons, measure effects in expression (DNA microarray and RT-PCR). Large difference! dozens of genes increased or decreased relative to chimps


Reading: FOXP2 in mice.

KO mouse FOXP2, then knock in human version. Physiology of brain much different. Long-term depression in the mice, pups make different sound frequency


Reading: FOXP2 in human evolution

Compare with DNA from neanderthals, possible that they had a language.